December Plant of the Month | Poinsettia
Poinsettia | Euphorbia pulcherrima
One of the houseplants that most often graces our windowsills and tables during the festive period is the beautifully vibrant Poinsettia. Originating from Mexico, Euphorbia pulcherrima is commonly known as Poinsettia after Joel Robert Poinsett, the American ambassador to Mexico in the 1820-30’s.
Poinsettias have distinctive, brightly-coloured bracts. They require 12 hours of darkness followed by daylight for around a week to promote the bract colouring. This is why the bracts create their colour in the autumn-winter, due to the increased hours of darkness and shortened days.
As a result, they are an extremely popular houseplant to brighten the home at Christmas time, or as a gift.
Modern varieties of poinsettia are available in a wide range of hues; reds, pinks, greens and more. It is the rich red that is most commonly seen in homes during the festive season.
November – December
Poinsettias need a warm, draught-free spot in the home
Soil: Moist, well-drained soil
Hardiness: Not hardy
For a spectacular table display, place several poinsettias in a large bowl and top with moss